Does it Work? Active Park Assist - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Does it Work? Active Park Assist


MADISON (WKOW) -- Parallel parking can come with unparalleled challenges: Finding a large enough spot, squeezing in just right, keeping off the curb but not too far away.

If you suffer from parking problems, who do you turn to?

"We have a method that works as good as any," said Jim Kapinus owner of Mad Area Driving School.

Kapinus has been teaching parallel parking for 20 years.

Or do you pay a visit to Dan Jensen?

"This is a 2012 Ford Escape Limited," Jensen said. He's a sales consultant at Middleton Ford.

"It's brand new technology," said Jensen. "People are still amazed when they get in the vehicle and watch the steering wheel turn itself."

He's talking about "active park assist".  Basically, a car that can park itself.

"Once it determines a spot is big enough, it directs you and guides you to position it in the spot," said Jensen.

But is it really that easy? And worth $395 for the option? We gave the technology a try.

"This is the auto park button," said Jensen. "You are going to hit that."

All I had to do is pull forward, past the open space, until I heard a beep.

"Now take your hands off the wheel and put it in reverse," said Jensen.

It was pretty neat but I got a little caught up in the moment and bumped the car behind me.

"You didn't stop when it said," said Jensen.

"I thought it was going to do everything for me!," said Reporter Sabrina Hall.

"You just have to monitor the break," said Jensen. 

Oops. And I did not run into problem with instructor Jim Kapinus, who gave me a parking lesson the old fashioned way

"Get yourself parallel and about two feet away," said Kapinus.

I ended up as neatly parked as when I used the park assist: about six inches from the curb. Jim's way took about a minute. The self-parking Ford Escape? Only 30 seconds.

Jim had to check out his competition.

"I am very impressed," he said.

And since he's the driving expert, he got the final say on "active park assist"

 "I would give it a 3.5 possibly a four star," said Kapinus. "I was thinking it was a $1,500 product  but for $400 it would bring it up to a 3.5, 4 star area."

It's a solid rating, for a technology that helps you park as long as you remember to break.


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